8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin

8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin

Categories: Asia

The name “Shaolin” is well-known even among those who have little interest in oriental martial arts. However, we know quite little about this legendary monastery.

8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin

8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin 1. In 495, the Shaolin Monastery was not founded by a Chinese man.

Its founder was a wandering Buddhist monk from India named Bhadra. He appeared in China in 464 and preached there for several decades before Emperor Xiao Wen ordered the construction of a Shaolin monastery for him on Mount Songshan.

8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin 2. The legendary Bodhidharma lived in Shaolin for some time.

Tradition says that around 475 AD. Buddhist monk Bodhidharma arrived by sea in China, where he began to preach his teachings. He then settled in the Shaolin Monastery, recently founded on Mount Songshan, where he founded the first school of Chan Buddhism.

8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin 3. At first the monastery did not have a monastic army. In 620, 13 Shaolin monks helped Li Shimin (599-649) retain the throne, and the monastery received the highest permission to practice martial arts.

8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin 4. Contrary to popular belief, Shaolin is not the only Chinese monastery where martial monks trained, and martial arts did not appear there at all. Other orders of monks began to diligently study martial arts and stick fighting even earlier. Chunqiu records, which were made around 800-500 BC, refer to "hard" and "soft" hand-to-hand combat techniques - these two techniques formed the basis of modern kung fu. During the Moon Dynasty (1368-1644 AD), when Shaolin was just beginning to be associated with advanced martial arts, kung fu was already known throughout China.

8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin 5. In 1928, warlord Shi Yusan set fire to the Shaolin Monastery. Unique written sources were destroyed: for example, the treatise of Zhang Sanfeng, who was considered the source of Taijiquan. The monastery lay in ruins for half a century. At that time, there were only seven monks living there, of which only three were familiar with kung fu.

8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin 6. According to legends, in addition to Northern Shaolin, there was a certain Southern Shaolin, which was located in Fujian province. No reliable sources about its existence have been found.

8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin 7. Interest in Chinese martial arts around the world began after the release of the film “Shaolin Temple” (1982). Filming took place in Hunan Province. A real Buddhist temple was used as the scenery. Later came Children of Shaolin (1983) and Shaolin Martial Arts (1986). The trilogy was shown as part of a film supplement to the Film Travelers Club in 1989.

8 Little-Known Facts About Shaolin 8. According to George Lucas, the Jedi in Star Wars were based on the Shaolin monks.

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